Why Wilderness 1st: Photographer Jaymie Shearer

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We’re raising awareness about learning important skills to care for yourself or others who may become ill or injured in the outdoors by spotlighting members of our community who have earned their Wilderness First Aid Certification or higher!

Join us November 4-6 to earn your Wilderness First Aid + CPR Certification at historic Sturtevant Camp!

Jaymie Shearer, Photographer, Wilderness First Responder

What inspired you to learn Wilderness First Aid? What was your favorite part of the experience?

I was inspired to get my Wilderness First Responder (WFR) training and certification after a backpacking trip to Montana over a year ago. I was inspired by all the knowledge shared by each of the women on the trip and knew I wanted to learn more. A little under a year later, it was day one of a eight day WFR course with SOLO, and I was listening to our instructor Allen White say, “I’m not here to be friends with you all. I’m here for your first patient. This is why I’m teaching this course. This is what I do this for—your first patient. That’s all I care about.” It was a sobering realization. This wasn’t just a course to learn nifty tools to help people with a sprained ankle. This was so that we could walk away from this course and know how to help in life or death situations in a setting where the closest hospital could be days, if not weeks, away. This set the tone for the course and after a week of intensive learning, simulations, and testing I’m honored to walk away with this new lens. Oh and by the end of the course we were all very very grateful for our instructor—he cared so much about what we were learning as well as each of as individuals. His teaching and wisdom extended into mentoring us as well, not just teaching us information. A friend of mine joked about how I’m going to come away from the WFR course, wanting to go into the medical field, and I can’t tell you she was wrong.

Have you ever used your skills in the field? Tell us about it.

After my training, I went into the Wyoming wilderness the rest of summer. While in the backcountry I was able to use a lot of what I learned in my WFR course. From helping my peers recognize the signs of dehydration to dealing with altitude sickness to tick removal, I was able to help in a lot of ways. I am so so so grateful to be better equipped to care for people while in the wilderness. This place means so much to me and I feel as though it is important to help teach people how to care for and love it too. I would highly recommend any and all wilderness first aid training to people wanting to engage with the wilderness more.

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